Thursday, February 1, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: UNC Wilmington

John Calipari was one-and-done at UNCW. Really. You can't make this stuff up. (Photo courtesy the Wilmington Star-News)

The Flying Dutchmen avoided lapsing into a three-game losing streak Saturday night almost entirely on the shoulders of Justin Wright-Foreman, who (ho hum) scored a game-high 32 points and drained the dagger shot in the final minute of a come-from-behind 64-59 win over Delaware. The Dutchmen begin a pivotal homestand tonight, when they host old rival UNC Wilmington. Here’s a look back at the win over the Blue Hens and a look ahead to the Seahawks.

Justin Wright-Foreman scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half as the Dutchmen came back from an 11-point first half deficit to edge Delaware. The Dutchmen didn’t lead for more than 28 minutes spanning the two halves and didn’t go ahead for good until Wright-Foreman drained two free throws with 3:45 remaining. Wright-Foreman’s flat-footed 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down gave the Dutchmen a 63-58 lead with 12 seconds left. Rokas Gustys scored just four points but pulled down 13 rebounds as he closed in on the program’s Division I rebounding record. Eli Pemberton added 12 points while Stafford Trueheart had five points, five rebounds and two blocks.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Delaware 1/27)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Rokas Gustys
1: Eli Pemberton

Justin Wright-Foreman 56
Rokas Gustys 31
Eli Pemberton 21
Desure Buie 8
Jalen Ray 6
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 3
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

The Flying Dutchmen came back from a deficit of at least 10 points for the fourth time this season and the 16th time in five seasons under Joe Mihalich.

vs. Delaware 1/27/18 (trailed by 11 in 2H, won 64-59)
vs. Towson 1/11/18 (trailed by 10 in 2H, won 76-73)
vs. Northeastern 1/2/18 (trailed by 12 in 1H, won 71-70)
vs. Monmouth 12/6/17 (trailed by 14 in 2H, won 85-84)
vs. Drexel 2/4/17 (trailed by 13 in 2H, won 79-77)
vs. Delaware 2/2/17 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 73-65)
vs. Coppin State 11/11/16 (trailed by 11 in 1H, won 74-72)
vs. UNCW 2/25/16 ( trailed by 18 in 1H, won 70-69)
vs. Drexel 1/30/16 (trailed by 12 in 2H, won 70-64)
vs. Sacred Heart 12/28/15 (trailed by 11 in 2H, won 80-73)
vs. St. Bonaventure 11/28/15 (trailed by 10 in 1H, won 89-83)
vs. Canisius 11/13/15 (trailed by 18 in 1H, won 96-85)
vs. Towson 2/18/15 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 87-82)
vs. UNCW 1/3/15 (trailed by 13 in 1H, won 68-56)
vs. UNCW 2/8/14 (trailed by 15 in 2H, won 61-52)
vs. Charleston 1/11/14 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 75-71)

The Dutchmen have won their last 17 games in which they held an opponent under 60 points dating back to the start of the 2014-15 season.

Justin Wright-Foreman scored exactly half the Dutchmen’s points Saturday. It marked the first time a Hofstra player scored at least half the team’s points since way back on Jan. 7, when Wright-Foreman scored 39 points in an 89-76 loss to Elon. 

Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 30 points for the sixth time this season Saturday. He is just the third Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home) to collect six 30-point games in a season. In that time, only Demetrius Dudley has more than six 30-point games in a single season.

Demetrius Dudley 7 (1991-02)
Antoine Agudio 6 (2007-08)

The 32-point game for Justin Wright-Foreman Saturday marked the 10th time he has scored at least 30 points in a game for the Dutchmen. He is just the fourth  Hofstra player since 1989-90 to register at least 30 points in 10 games. Only Demetrius Dudley, who collected 12 30-point games in 56 games over two seasons, played fewer games than Wright-Foreman, who has appeared in 81 games over three seasons. But all of Wright-Foreman’s 30-point efforts have come in the last 41 games, dating back to Jan. 2, 2017. Here is the list of all players with multiple 30-point games since 1989-90 (career games in parenthesis).

Demetrius Dudley 12 
Charles Jenkins 12 (128)
Justin Wright-Foreman 10 (81)
Antoine Agudio 10 (122)
Speedy Claxton 8 (119)
Loren Stokes 7 (124)
Zeke Upshaw 3 (33)
Mike Moore 3 (65)
Ameen Tanksley 2 (68)
Rick Apodaca 2 (108)
John Mavroukas 2 (90)

Junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Saturday for the 44th straight game. It is the fifth-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, and moved him past with former teammate Juan’ya Green into sole possession of third place on the list of longest double-digit scoring streaks by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home).

Charles Jenkins 58 straight games 12/12/09-3/15/11*** 
Antoine Agudio 48 straight games 3/6/06-1/17/08****
Justin Wright-Foreman: 44 straight games 12/11/16-present
Juan’ya Green: 43 straight games 11/14/14-12/9/15 
Loren Stokes 41 straight games 2/20/06-3/14/07*** 
Loren Stokes: 34 straight games 1/14/04-1/31/05

***streak ended with the end of the player’s Hofstra career
****Agudio had three DNPs during his streak

Justin Wright-Foreman, the newest member of the 1,000-point club at Hofstra, continued moving up the list Saturday, With his 32 points, Wright-Foreman surged past Ted Jackson for 24th place and needs nine points tonight to pass ex-teammates Brian Bernardi and Juan’ya Green, each of whom collected 1,186 points at Hofstra. 

Green and Bernardi may not be the only recent Dutchmen surpassed by a former teammate tonight, Rokas Gustys, who joined the 1,000-point club two days before Wright-Foreman, is 15 points shy of moving past Ameen Tanksley for 30th place on the all-time list.

22t.) Brian Bernardi 1,186 (2014-17)
22t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)
24.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,178 (2015-present)
25.) Ted Jackson 1,159 (1958-61)
26.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12)
27.) Wandy Williams 1,132 (1966-69)
28.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)
29.) Richie Swartz 1,107 (1959-62)
30.) Ameen Tanksley 1,090 (2014-16)
31.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,075 (2014-present)
32.) Derrick Flowers 1,069 (1987-91)
33.) Darius Burton 1,060 (1993-97)
34.) Percy Johnson 1,045 (1950-53)
35.) Jim Shaffer 1,022 (1991-95)
36.) John Irving 1,018 (1974-77)

Rokas Gustys will likely become the most prolific Hofstra rebounder of the Division I era tonight. With 13 rebounds on Saturday, Gustys (1,185 rebounds) moved within just two rebounds of John Irving for second place on the school’s all-time list. The only player with more rebounds than Irving is Bill Thieben, who pulled down a whopping 1,837 rebounds from 1953-56.

Rokas Gustys is just 130 rebounds away from surpassing the CAA’s all-time leading rebounder, Hall of Famer David Robinson (1,314 rebounds for Navy from 1983-87). At his current season average of 11.5 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play 12 more games to move past Robinson. The Dutchmen are scheduled to play at least nine more games (eight regular season CAA games and at least one tournament game).

With his three points Saturday night, Jalen Ray moved past Aurimas Kieza into 17th place on the Hofstra freshman scoring list in the CAA era (2001-present). Ray is the second freshman to reach triple digits in as many seasons. Eli Pemberton scored 397 points last year.

Antoine Agudio, 452 (2004-05)
Charles Jenkins, 436 (2007-08)
Kenny Adeleke, 433 (2001-02)
Eli Pemberton, 397 (2016-17)
Loren Stokes, 374 (2003-04)
Chaz Williams, 325 (2009-10)
Jamall Robinson, 312 (2013-14)
Halil Kanacevic, 294 (2009-10)
Carlos Rivera, 226 (2003-04)
Nathaniel Lester, 189 (2007-08)
Shemiye McLendon, 178 (2010-11)
Wendell Gibson, 153 (2001-02)
Jordan Allen, 152 (2012-13)
Chris Jenkins, 151 (2013-14)
Rokas Gustys, 140 (2014-15)
Mike Radziejewski, 138 (2001-02)
JALEN RAY, 128 (2017-18)
Aurimas Kieza, 126 (2002-03)
Woody Souffrant, 110 (2001-02)
Moussa Kone, 100 (2011-12)

The Dutchmen returned to their nail-biting ways Saturday, when they edged Delaware by five points. Seven of the Dutchmen’s 10 league games, and 13 of their 19 games overall, have been decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. That latter figure is tied for the most among CAA teams with Drexel, The Dutchmen are 10-3 in their “close shaves.”

HOFSTRA 13 (10-3)
Drexel 13 (7-6)
James Madison 12 (4-8)
Elon 11 (7-4)
UNC Wilmington 11 (4-7)
Towson 9 (4-5)
College of Charleston 8 (4-4)
Delaware 7 (4-3)
Northeastern 6 (3-3)
William & Mary 5 (4-1)

While recency bias makes these nail-biters seem new and unusual, “Team Barbasol” is a well-earned moniker for the Dutchmen. Of the 88 games the Dutchmen have played since the start of the 2015-16 season, a whopping 49 have been decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. They are 30-19 in the “close shaves.”

With their win Saturday night, the Dutchmen remained unbeaten in the ECC and all but locked up the season within a season, the one Litos won’t acknowledge. 

Towson 1-1
Delaware 1-2
Drexel 0-3

Today’s game will be streamed live by College Sports Live. Hofstra will provide a radio feed as well as live stats at the Pride Productions hub.

The two-time defending CAA champion Seahawks, under first-year head coach C.B. McGrath, are 7-15 this season and 4-6 in CAA play. UNC Wilmington had a two-game winning streak snapped Saturday, when it fell to William & Mary, 84-81.

The Dutchmen and Seahawks had no common foes during non-league play. Both the Dutchmen and Seahawks have beaten Drexel, James Madison and Towson, the latter of whom split the season series with UNC Wilmington. Both teams have lost to William & Mary. Charleston and Northeastern, the latter of whom split the season series with Hofstra. Hofstra has swept Delaware, which swept UNC Wilmington, and lost to Elon, which fell to the Seahawks.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, entered today ranked 167th at The Seahawks, who were picked fifth, entered today ranked 271st at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank fourth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (111.0) and seventh in conference-only defensive efficiency (109.4). The Seahawks rank eighth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (105.5) and sixth in conference-only defensive efficiency (108.8).

The game will pit two of the nation’s top 10 rebounders in UNCW’s Devontae Cacok, who leads the country with 13.3 rebounds per game and Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys, who ranks seventh with 11.5 rebounds per game. predicts an 88-77 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 9-point favorites as of early this morning. Hofstra is 8-10 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 18-19 against UNC Wilmington in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Seahawks swept the season series last year by earning an 86-74 in Wilmington on Jan. 14 and a 83-76 victory in Hempstead on Hofstra’s Senior Day on Feb. 18. It was the first season sweep for UNC Wilmington since 2007-08. The Seahawks have won four of the last five games between the teams, including an 80-73 overtime win in the CAA championship game Mar. 7, 2016. *cries*

Both the Flying Dutchmen and Joe Mihalich have fared well in February. Since joining the CAA in 2001-02, the Dutchmen are 76-57 (.571) in regular season games played on or after Feb. 1. The Dutchmen went 5-3 last February. 

In addition, Mihalich is 100-55 (.645) in regular season games in February or March.

John Calipari bias! (The Kentucky coach began his college basketball playing career at UNC Wilmington)
Brad Brownell bias! (The Clemson coach led UNCW to two NCAA Tournaments from 2002-06 and steered the Seahawks past Hofstra in the 2006 title game, sigh)
Chris Hatcher bias! (The big league pitcher graduated from UNCW)
Tom Riordan bias! (The former Lawnguyislander is a member of UNCW’s sports information staff)

No comments: